Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cheater Activism!

I've decided to post today, because I have the feeling that I'll forget if I decide to publish this post tomorrow instead.
Now. Let's get down to the bottom of this, shall we? Just what is cheater activism?
"Cheater activism", as I so fondly call it, is when you stealthily use your membership to a group or use other opportunities to help benefit your cause. I don't mean this in a negative way. In fact, I think it's great-- and you aren't really cheating on anything. To give an example:
NEOPETS! I am currently in one of my Neopets-addiction phases (in case you weren't aware, is a virtual pets website), but instead of just playing the games all day, I am also using my Neopets account to get people to go vegan and take on a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It's easy: in my Neopets shop, I include a dialogue with the shopkeeper, Froggy, about going vegan; I started a "guild" on about kids and teens going green; and I'm going to add some more things to my account that I hope will help inspire more people to take better care of the planet and our fellow creatures. Although this might seem a bit shallow ("You have no excuse to play endlessly on the Internet, even if you are including activism!", says my conscience, and there's also the fact that staring at screens for so long is making me feel a bit light-headed), I do believe it's a start back in the activist-y direction again after taking a bit of a break recently. (I didn't take a break from being vegan or generally eco-friendly, mind you. I only took a break from the activism side of things.) It's useful to incorporate activism into your life in any way you can; after all, why not? The worst that could happen is that it wouldn't work, and you'd be no better or worse off than when you started.
So, how else can we utilize "cheater activism" in our daily lives? Here is a list of some of my ideas.

How To Be A Cheater Activist
  • If you write a book or do another kind of creative project, make sure to either include some info on animal rights etc. in your book/project, or use the publicity you get to help raise awareness on the side.
  • On any social networking sites, online gaming sites, and forums (and, yes, virtual pet communities) that you are already involved in, try to incorporate animal rights on your profile page or in any other places you can.
  • When you go out (especially to events where a lot of people are going to see you!), place an activist bumper sticker on your car/bike and wear an activist T-shirt.
  • When you give people gifts, make sure that you give them some sort of extra little thing that might make them think about being more compassionate through their everyday lifestyle. (E.g. slip them an obviously vegan bar of soap, a coupon for a vegan food product, or a flyer for the upcoming vegetarian festival.)
  • I can't think of any more general tips at the moment, but surely you can think of some that pertain to your own life. For instance, if you're a teacher, you can get your students to study conditions on factory farms and in slaughterhouses. If you're a student, you can inject an animal rights theme into all of your projects (except for math, perhaps-- good luck with that one!). If you're a social worker, you can give out certified vegan candies or treats. If you're a librarian, you can put out animal rights books for all to see. If you can't think of anything that you can accomplish for animal rights through your profession and/or pastimes, let me know in the comments section below this post and I'll get back to you with my ideas as soon as possible.
Here is my conversation with Froggy on Neopets, in case you're interested:
Photo Courtesy of (My Neopets shopkeeper, a.k.a. Froggy!)
"Hm? What's this? The shopkeeper has something he would like to say. Well, go ahead and spit it out, Froggy.
Froggy: Go vegan! You wouldn't eat your dog, would you?
Er, no, Froggy, I'm sure they wouldn't. You make a good point, but many people think that dogs are smarter than chickens, say, or pigs.  
Froggy: Wrong! Did you know that chickens' intelligence has been compared to that of monkeys? And pigs are considered to be smarter than dogs. Besides, as famous philosopher Jeremy Bentham said, "the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" Farms nowadays are very often "factory farms", where animals are kept in isolation and treated badly. Many chickens, for example, never even get to see the light of day. We have to go vegan so that we don't support this awful industry!
You're right, Froggy. But what do you want people to eat instead? 
Froggy: Duh?! Think of all the non-animal foods there are out there! Here's a sample menu:
Sample Vegan Daily Menu
Breakfast: nice big bowl of oatmeal with maple syrup, with orange juice and an apple on the side. Morning Snack: Oreo Cookies (Yes, Oreo cookies are vegan!), or, if you want to go for the healthier version, an apple.
Lunch: Hummus on pita bread, glass of So Good soy milk, veggies with Italian dressing, and Ritz crackers.
Afternoon Snack: So Delicious Vegan Coconut Ice Cream
Dinner: Tofu and vegetable stir-fry (use sweet-and-sour sauce for a mouth-watering effect), almond milk, and papaya fruit for desert.
Woah! It's pretty surprising that Oreo Cookies are vegan. I think also Wonder Bread is vegan. It's important to realize that vegans don't only eat brussels sprouts and tofu. I'm a vegan, too, and it's true that we can eat all sorts of things!
Froggy : Now we're talkin', millyandsugar. Did I miss anything?
Well, you didn't mention what other resources people can turn to to help them transition to the vegan diet...  
Froggy : HEY! I'm a Neopet. I don't know the names of websites outside of! And what about the rules? We're not supposed to talk about that.
Sigh... you're right. Well, then, let it suffice to say that there are plenty of websites just a search engine away that can point you in the right direction to move towards a compassionate diet!"

That's all for this week. I hoped you liked the post! Perhaps next week you'd like to hear about the "extremists" (not PETA, though; I've already talked about them). It's a pretty fascinating subject. See you then!


  1. Great ideas!
    The post for next week sounds very interesting too.
    P.s. hmm...neopets sound like fun!

  2. Neopets rock! I always notice what is on people's t-shirts and bumper stickers. The impact of using these is BIG and can often start a conversation about these messages. Thanks for sharing!